Life in the Garden Part 47: Trading Beer for Beans

Oh, the sacrifices we make for our gardens. For three days, I have surrendered beer for my pole beans.

I planted the starters 10 days ago, and all was well. Last year, the pole beans were one of my easiest crops. All I had to do was plant the seeds and they took off.  I had snacks available every time I stepped onto the deck.

Late last week, it looked like my arch nemesis, the aphid, was back. Those little green suckers have chomped way too many leaves on me in the past. I rushed out to the nursery and grabbed a bottle of Neem Oil and was ready to go to battle the next day.

But the holes in the leaves seemed a lot bigger than they should have been. I doubled down on the spray in the daylight. On Sunday evening, as it got a little darker, I realized the aphids were a mere distraction.  

My attacker this time was bigger.



Slugs. I founds a slug on a leaf.  

In damp, dark Seattle, slugs are as common as Thai food and coffee. But I don’t have ordinary slugs. I have industrious slugs.

Caffeinated slugs.

These slug in my pole beans didn’t just crawl over from the neighbor’s yard or the nearest salmon run.  My pole beans are planted in a big container. On a rubber covered deck.  60 feet in the air.

And they got up there.

I don’t know if they hitched a ride on a bird, snuck in with the plants from the nursery, or scaled the side of the building.

Fortunately, if there’s one thing we learned from The Simpsons, it’s that beer is the perfect solution to any problem.

Slugs like beer, and slugs are dumb. I built slug traps.

To deal with slugs,  you can dig a small hole in the dirt, and bury a small yogurt container up to the rim, and pour in some beer about a quarter or half way and leave it overnight.  The scent of beer will attract the slugs. The slimy bastards will wiggle their way over to feast on the beer. They’ll slither down the side for a sip, reach the beer, dive in, and drown.  The beer gorging is like 1:00 AM at a Capitol Hill bar with cheap pitchers and unlimited chicken wings. Only most bar goers don’t drown in their meal. Most.

My new nightly ritual involves dumping the previous night’s flat beer and dead slugs into a zip lock bag, which I then drop drown the trash chute. Then I open another beer and [sob] refill the container.  Then I drink the rest of the beer.

Tonight I took it another step. I added a small, formerly-juiced-filled bottle on its side with more beer bait.  I have to get more creative with these slugs.

Because I think the slugs are getting bigger. They’re starting to level up. Again.